Last May, Think Brewing announced that they would be opening their nano brewery in Harvey, New Brunswick (approximately 40 km outside of Fredericton). Owned by Scott and Denise MacLean, the brewery is located at the couple’s 150-year-old farmhouse, where they also reside. With Think beers likely coming out any day now, we finally exchanged emails with Scott to get a bit of a preview on plans for the brewery’s launch.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an Engineering Technician and my wife, Denise, is a potter. We have two grown sons and a granddaughter. In the past we were a certified organic farm with a market garden and greenhouses. A month after we were married we bought the 150 year-old farmhouse that we still live in. We have spent many enjoyable years upgrading the house and working on the gardens and land. The original barn has been our most recent project and now houses our brewery. We enjoy travelling, outdoor activities, gardening and cooking.
How did you get into the world of craft beer?
We’ve enjoyed drinking craft beer for many years, going back to the early 90’s when we spent a lot of time in Maine and discovered their local beer scene. We’ve always enjoyed “back to the land” type of pursuits: gardening, cooking, preserving, etc., so making beer was a natural fit.
Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I have homebrewed off and on since the late 80’s and started all-grain brewing in 2014 with friend Randy Rowe (now of Off Grid Ales).
What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and with our sons grown, it seemed like the right time. It’s such an optimistic period in the craft beer movement now, and we are looking forward to being part of the New Brunswick craft beer community.
What type of system will you be brewing on? What is your expected output?
We brew on a 1 barrel (115 L), propane- fired system, with the capacity to do around 3 barrels per week.
What are your plans for distribution?
The James Joyce in Fredericton will be carrying our beers on tap by this coming weekend. Our local pub in Harvey, The Loch Pub & Grill, is currently closed for renovations but will have our beers on tap when they re-open. We are not licensed for on-site sales at this time.
Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?Our initial release will be Revelation IPA (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU), an American style IPA with a bit of English style in the background, and Eureka ESB, (5.9% ABV, 40 IBU). Beyond that we plan to be a bit style diverse. We will have seasonals down the road and a DIPA will be coming soon.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We’ve had a lot of help and support, so many people in fact that I’m afraid to leave someone out. Randy Rowe and I learned so much brewing together weekly on our pilot system. Jake Saunders and Dan Mason of Trailway, and Paul Maybee from Maybee Brewing are always willing to answer questions. Being a member of the New Brunswick Craft Brewer’s Association [a local homebrew club] and going to the Saturday meetings was a huge help. The club has so many knowledgeable and talented brewers; I can’t say enough about them. Finally, we have to thank Philip LeBlanc for designing our logo.
Can you tell us how your brewery got its name?
We have always admired how many craft breweries are socially responsible and that’s one of the things that drew us to the business. Our name “Think Brewing Co.” is based on that – we want to try to do a little good when we can, anything from sourcing local ingredients to giving a portion of sales to charity. Our plans are still being worked out, but we think we will choose a different charity every month. For the first month we will be donating $2 from every keg to a local food bank.
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?We have bee hives, fruit trees and gardens, and hope to integrate many local ingredients into our recipes. We plan to develop a hop yard and make use of a native hop vine discovered growing on our property. Our primary goal is to produce interesting beers that people enjoy drinking.
Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
That’s a tough one to pin down; I love IPAs, but enjoy any well-crafted beer. Denise is a big fan of Belgian-style beers.
How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Right now I love brewing IPAs and I’m looking forward to incorporating local ingredients into future recipes.
Congratulations to Scott and Denise on the upcoming launch of Think Brewing! Their beer should be released by this weekend; we’ll be sure to keep you notified on our Friday Wrap-Up if this is confirmed by the end of the week. In the meantime, follow along on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more information.